Measuring the Dispersion Forces Near the van der Waals-Casimir Transition

V. B. Svetovoy*, A. Postnikov, I. Uvarov, F. Stepanov, G. Palasantzas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Forces induced by quantum fluctuations of the electromagnetic field control adhesion phenomena between rough solids when the bodies are separated by distances of approximately 10 nm. However, this distance range remains largely unexplored experimentally in contrast with the shorter (van der Waals forces) or the longer (Casimir forces) separations. The reason for this is the pull-in instability of the systems with the elastic suspension that poses a formidable limitation. In this paper we propose a genuine experimental configuration that does not suffer from the short distance instability. The method is based on the adhered cantilever, whose shape is sensitive to the forces acting near the adhered end. The general principle of the method, its possible realization, and feasibility are extensively discussed. The dimensions of the cantilever are determined by the maximum sensitivity to the forces. If the adhesion is defined by strong capillary or chemical interactions, the method loses its sensitivity. Special discussion is presented for the determination of the minimum distance between the rough solids upon contact, and for the compensation of the residual electrostatic contribution. The proposed method can be applied to any kind of solids (metals, semiconductors, or dielectrics) and to any intervening medium (gas or liquid).

Original languageEnglish
Article number064057
Number of pages11
JournalPhysical Review Applied
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 23-Jun-2020



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